TL;DR: Because you have the attention span of a flea, just go down to the “overall” section it sums it up pretty nicely
The original Super Mario Bros was an immediate success, so it was pretty obvious that its sequel had a lot to live up to. Therefore when development on this game began, it was pretty obvious what the developers were trying to do. From the very first stage, it was abundantly clear that this game was about difficulty. It's an infamous fact that upon release it was deemed “too hard” for western audiences. Therefore they were given a reskinned version of another game deemed “Super Mario Bros 2” in its place (I'll talk about that one a little later). So was it warranted? When I went into this game, I always had the thought in the back of my mind of “It can't be THAT hard, can it?” Well now that I beat it, let's answer that question, shall we? Here are my thoughts on Super Mario Bros: the Lost Levels.
This is another one of those games where I don't have any nostalgic memories of it to say, just times when I remember learning about it. The first is on the Wiishop when I was just casually browsing when I was younger and saw this game on sale. I didn't buy it, but I was curious what it was. After looking it up, I was pretty intrigued. I wouldn't actually get the chance to get the game myself until it was released on NES online. I had just finished completing the original and 3 when it came out, so I tried to finish this one as well. I knew that in the near future I was going to be on a long bus ride that stretched about 9 hours, and was hoping to beat the game on that ride. That never happened, due to things I can't remember. So my first time beating it was for this review.
Once again, Bowser has kidnapped Peach and it's up to Mario to save her. The player takes on the role of Mario.
Apparently the manual actually says that this game takes place in a parallel universe from the original (Which could explain the title “Lost Levels”. That's something to note that exists in the Mario universe now. Cool.
The gameplay is pretty similar to the original. The player starts right and must make it to the end of the stage.
This section is actually gonna be just a continuation of my section from the original game, because these two games share a lot of elements. So if youre really determined to see what all this game has to offer, maybe read that one first. Other than that, all of the original challenges and obstacles appear from the original, but there are some new ones added.
-the poison mushroom. Which is obtained from a block much like a regular mushroom, except touching it hurts the player -there are some dick warp zones in this game, warp zones are areas in the game that let the player skip entire worlds. In this game however, everytime the player tries to find one, it might just lead them to worlds they already beat. This makes the player have to stop and consider if its really worth to try and see what's ahead because if it turns out to be a trap, they have no choice but to go back to a world they've already beaten. -There are now red piranha plants, which appear and disappear at a much faster frequency than their green counterparts -Occasionally, a gust of wind will come in and automatically move the player right. Even if they are not moving at all. -Hammer bros return and they do the same things, but for some reason they just appear a tad bit more aggressive in this game, actively moving towards the player instead of just standing in one spot. Not to mention there are significantly more of them than in the original. -Their also seems to be much more maze levels in this game, or just parts where moving on ment trying to find some sort of invisible block to move on.
Before I go onto the last major difference, I want to talk about the maze levels. I believe that this is the main reason why this game was considered so much harder than the original. Here's the thing about theise, they somewhat worked in the original game because there weren't a ton of them. In this game however, I swear it felt like they were coming every other level. Considering that that is NOT the main point of a Mario game, its really annoying to see it implemented this many times. Does it make the game harder? Of course it does, but not for the best. A Mario platformer should be easy to learn hard to master, NOT trying to figure out what to do. A general rule of thumb I have with platforming games like this is that if I have to google what to do, then that particular part of the game has failed. That happened a LOT here, and while I don't quite remember why I gave up trying to beat it that one time, I'm willing to bet money that getting tired of googling things might have been a factor. Yeah it makes the game harder, but thats like hosting a harder olympics this year where what makes it harder is that all of the athletes have their legs tied together. It definitely adds challenge, but more of an annoying challenge if anything that doesn't make anything more fun.
Now that that tangents over, let's talk about the last major addition, the bonus world. This is just an extra world that the player unlocks after beating the main 8 worlds. Its pretty easy, nothing too challenging, and the last level is a message in Japanese awarding the player for getting this far.
Before I end this section, there is one more thing Id like to mention, and thats some of the obstacle and level design. Yes, I know I just ragged on this game for being too hard, but one upside to it is that its obvious how much they tried to really spice things up in the levels. All throughout the game there are constantly themes and tracks that seemingly come out of nowhere and would normally be found in different levels. Like regular castle levels having underwater physics. If you ask me, that is undoubtedly my favorite part of this game and is the one thing keeping me from automatically saying that the original is better. This version just has so many balls to the wall crazy ideas that makes it stand out from the original.
They actually changed up some things here graphics wise. Sure, it still has the same feel as the original, but with some slight differences. For one, now all the clouds, hills, and mushrooms have eyes. While this would become a mainstay in the series, it just feels weird seeing it in this games format. I always felt like it was just crammed on there and wasn't intentional. The other thing they changed is the ground texture. Not gonna lie I vastly prefer the original here. In this version, the blocky cracked ground is replaced by this dirt-looking one. It just makes the ground looks so much more unpolished I guess.
They also added a blue backdrop over the start screen for each level. Cool I guess?
There's no new music added, which I kinda expected. There is an extended version of the end theme, which personally made beating the game just a little more satisfying. All in all, still pretty good, and I'm glad they didnt risk ruining the original games music by trying to make new tracks.
So what do I think of this game overall?
While yes, I constantly had to play this game with my phone by my side and I used the rewind feature more than a couple of times, I would be lying if I said that I wasn't excited to come back and play more when I was playing it for writing this. Some levels really just get insanely crazy with how many obstacles and interactions it throws at you at once. But the real question here is does it balance out the negative? Well thats gonna be up to the players opinion, and as for my opinion, it does. Im gonna give this game a ⅘.
Remakes and ports
This game got itself a remake in the Super Mario All Stars collection on SNES. Here are all the main differences I noticed: -improved graphics and audio -Not only can you save, but you can save at individual levels while the original Super Mario Bros only let you save at the beginning of the world -There are multiple files -you can change the mapping of the buttons -Mazes now have sound cues to tell you if your going the right way -More bonus worlds
While with the original Super Mario Bros I was kinda iffy on whether or not I preferred the remake over the original, this time I can say without a doubt the remake is better. Not only does it allow you to save your progress in what is a very difficult game for some, but it gets rid of all of my complaints about the graphics by making it blend in more with the original games remake, not to mention the sound cues for mazes. I cannot stress enough how many times that saved me here
Ways to play this game today
-If you have an original NES and a cartridge of this game, you can play it that way. But assuming you dont have theise I would eliminate this option -If you downloaded it on Wiishop you can play it that way, but Wiishop is closed in 2021, so youd have to have it already downloaded -If you have a WiiU or 3ds, its available on eshop for 4.99$ plus tax, which I think is a bit of a steal for this game -Its one of the games included in NES online, but I wouldnt buy it for this game alone (this is how I played it) -Its one of the 3 games on the Super Mario Bros game & watch, while its a neat little device, only buy it if your really into that kind of stuff.
So what do you think? Do you agree or disagree? Id love to hear your opinion in the comments below! Thats gonna be it for this one and until next time, happy gaming.
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